BAGHDAD, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Iraq plans to invite foreign energy companies to a new bid for the exploration and development of 11 oil and gas blocks near the borders with Iran and Kuwait, said Iraqi Oil Ministry in a statement Monday.
The ministry will hold a conference next Thursday to announce the 11 blocks in eastern and southern Iraq with the presence of 13 international energy firms, in addition to two other firms who expressed their intention to take part in the conference, according to the statement.
"During the conference, the Department of Petroleum Contracts and Licenses will provide an elucidation of the basic features of the contract and the amendments that have been made to the contract in accordance with remarks submitted by the Oil Ministry, members of the Council of Representatives (Parliament), the government and some experts," the statement quoted the ministry's spokesman Asim Jihad as saying.
Earlier, the ministry identified nine exploration blocks, but later added two more in Iraq's eastern province of Diyala in the new bidding round, the statement said.
Iraq wants to increase its crude oil production to over 5 million barrels per day (bpd) from its current production of about 4.35 million bpd, it added.
Iraqi economy relies on oil for over 90 percent of its revenues.
Early in 2017, the Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar Luaiby said that Iraq's proven oil reserves had increased to 153 billion barrels from the previously estimated 143.1 billion barrels.